Tag Archives: KillJoy Prophets

Highlights from 2014

In 2014, I set out to articulate my view of the world, my working theology, and spiritual journey. I aimed to do this without centering the feelings of would-be “allies” or seek the approval of the dominant culture. I wanted to invite my friends and (presumably) my audience to an alternative beyond the liberal, conservative divide as well as the never really nuanced “third way.” I also sought to collaborate and work in collectives with social justice thinkers similar to myself. We may not all agree on every issue, but we live in conversation, and to lift up the voices of the margins. Here are some highlights:

1. During this spring (March exactly), evangelicals and postevangelicals were at arms over World Vision and the culture wars. Caught in their crossfires were “Africans” and “third world” people groups, and there was insufficient critical reflection on the colonial histories of these “helpless” countries. Enter: African Children Are Not Your Pawns: World Vision and Evangelical Imperialism

2. The month of September was quite a month here. In late October/early September, Charisma magazine posted an op-ed piece exhorting Christians to torture Muslims and sterilize their Middle Eastern neighbors. A few bloggers protested in disgust. So, I started a protest hashtag, #CancelTheCrusades, and posted: Charisma Magazine, Islam, and Racist Op-Eds #CancelTheCrusades. Within an hour, Charisma took down the post, but still has yet to apologize.

3. Later that month, I started a series on a liberationist approach for theological engagement online. Perhaps more than anything is the boogieman of the Social Justice Warrior. The demonizations has been a little bit over the top, and some of the proponents of this error have problematic practices themselves. So, I decided to shed some light on the situation, and expose some truth that some people weren’t fond of: Quitting the Progressive Christian Internet: Weeds Along The Moral High Ground Part 1 And Please stay tuned for Part III (the conclusion), it’s going to be a dandy, I promise!

4. #AnaBlacktivism: My friend Drew Hart and I are working to a create a collective, AnaBlacktivism, which brings Black Theology and AnaBaptist theology into dialogue. Our second Twitter chat, #JamesConeWasRight was a success and we plan to continue that conversation by focusing on Womanist theologians.

5. KillJoy Prophets: In February, a group of friends and I started a book club. The first night we introduced ourselves and talked about racism and White Supremacy in the Church in the U.S. from about 9:00pm until 2:00am or so in the morning. The results from conversations on Google Hangout and over the phone, and meeting each other in person was a collective we called Killjoy Prophets, to advance Three Pillars Evangelicalism (a confessional Christianity that opposes what Andrea Smith calls the Three Pillars of White Supremacy; stay tuned for more on this!). It’s funny that what started out as a light hearted joke about Christian books ended with a very serious conversation on Christian leadership (#NotMyChristianLeader looked at racism and sexism in the church). Aiming to shutdown DudeBro politics in Christianity, and closing racist/misogynist movements like G****Gate/***YourSh**d, Killjoy Prophets will continue to center the margins through activism, education efforts, and networking.

This has been my last blogpost for 2014. Bring on 2015.

co-opting the co-opters #AnaBlacktivism

It really is an exciting time. Inspired by bell hooks, as I wrote at ecclesio, excitement can be the source of transgression, and ultimately resistance versus White Supremacist Kyriarchy. It is my hope that emergence of the Killjoy Prophets and AnaBlacktivism collectives are able to create more spaces for the marginated. At the same times, while all of these positive, constructive things are occurring, I realize that whenever People of Color create their own spaces that are welcoming accomplices from the dominant culture, such excitement runs the risk of being co-opted. I’m all to familiar with this feeling; as the Teaching/Office assistant for the Black Church studies program for a few years, the Black Church Studies program, other POC spaces were treated by Whites as things to be consumed. People of Color were there to serve nice meals on a platter, and put on a good show in the name of “diversity.” It would be a mistake, to assume these spaces are here to center Whiteness.  Such collectives such as Killjoy Prophets (which is working to center Women of Color feminism),  host these conversations to decent the majority . Unfortunately, would-be Allies often times request much from our labor and they feel entitled to access this space. It is an attempt of inversing the role of host and guest, and thus replay the colonial arrangement: Whites being the “hosts” while people of color are the unwelcome guests. If un-doing empire is God’s calling for the Church, then co-opting is something to be resisted. 

Over at Patheos: Progressive Brands, Sexism & DudeBro Politics: #CloseGamerGate

Link to original post: here

Because this was now being handled in public, I was fortunate to receive the support of hundreds of people on Twitter – as well as attacks from others. I always expect some form of trolling, but I did not expect one of the attackers to be an editor at Salon, Elias Isquith, who questioned what my potential rape meant for “hashtags” and “brands”. “– Sarah Kendzior, On Being A Thing

Encountering the Emergent Church Brand

For a span of 2 years, my final semester of undergrad up until my second year in seminary,I tried and miserably failed to fit myself in the white Calvinist evangelical mold. As a black man in his early twenties, I didn’t fit in anywhere in predominantly white Christian educational settings. Some of my first friends in seminary were a group of white Christians who were well read with Emergent Christian literature: Tony Jones, Doug Paggit, Rob Bell, and Brian McLaren will all names that were dropped during our weekly Tuesday night taco dinners.  I would eventually leave the Neo-Calvinist movement on my own terms and started to see some freedom in the Emergent Church movement. Two of the more influential books on my journey were Scot McKnight’s The Jesus Creed and Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. My Calvinist friends (who had not read these book/authors) were calling me a heretic for even reading these books, and as I look back then seven years ago, I can laugh.

I once preached a sermon on the Emergent church as the future of Christian tradition, and I even taught a Sunday School class on Black theology and Emergence Christianity.  However, I began to experience disaffection with the Emergent Church. All of the topics and controversies that the EC leadership wrote about/spoke about still made Whiteness as the center. Believers from marginated contexts were welcome to the table as long as they tacitly submitted to the ways of the dominant culture. In essence,  Emergence Christianities have become more about personal brands and the platforms of their recognized overwhelmingly White male leaders rather than being about the “future of Christianity.” You see, since we only live in the here and now, all talks of the “future of Christianity” are speculative. Yet, there is much money to be made when small groups of people decide to severe the multiracial Kingdom of God from any notion of the future. The “future” winds up looking very much like the status quo, and defenses (yes, even “progressive ones”) of the status quo are quite profitable.

Liberationist Killjoys And DudeBro Christianity

At Killjoy Prophets, there is a two-fold mission: first, we desire to center the experiences of Women of Color in Christianity, and secondly, we work to end DudeBro Christianity. Now, we often get asked, “what is DudeBro Christianity?” First of all, DudeBro is a descriptor of character traits; it is a politics in which any person of any gender, sexual orientation, or ethnic background can embody.  DudeBro Christianity is the passive embodiment of dominant cultural norms that conceal commitments to White supremacist and male supremacist narratives as defaults. The bodies of women and People of Color are made to be objects of contempt. The practice of DudeBro Politics includes someone who insists that all social encounters occur on their terms.  The future of Christianity is their private property (“post-Christendom”); like the plantation oligarchs, People of Color and the bodies of women are to be supervised by DudeBro Christian leaders.

Emergent Christian leaders often make excuses such as, well many PoC and women just do not have a big enough platform to draw a big enough crowd for conferences. In other words, profit is the driving force behind abstract discussions of “the future” rather than the Kingdom of God, which is justice, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.  DudeBro Politics is the anti-Christ, posing as an angelic voice of progressive Enlightenment in order to deny faithful victory over the sins of White Supremacy, rape culture, and economic exploitation. DudeBro politics can play out in non-liberating events such as a White Cisgender queer male informing me that I use too strong of language when describing economic policies as anti-black racism. DudeBro Christianity is when for the sake of inclusion in the United Methodist Church, a White CisHet man uses his privilege to compare the General Conference to date rape. In order to build her brand as a magenta politics leftist, one political theologian dismissed Sarah Kendzior’s claims to being threatened with rape. Jason is right: in order for DudeBro Politics to remain the pre-eminent regime in this kyriarchal, White Supremacist economy, men have to control the bodies of women and PoC.

“but I think it’s pathetic for some [recognized Emergent Church leaders] to stand around and comment on the failings [of Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill Church], while cowardly never admitting your own sh*& (which is strikingly familiar!!) misogyny, mental and emotional abuse all hidden behind a new found liberalism and feminism because the times they are a changin’, jumping on the same sex marriage band wagon because its the hot new ride in town, and you just might get to be relevant again…these people are very cunning and smart and they will use anything (theology, controversy, sensationalism) and anyone to get ahead. it’s a clinical diagnosis and a pathology that looks like this kind of carnage, and they ALWAYS leave bodies in their wake. soliciting white male leaders of the emergent church willing to cover it all up for their crony. wipe out evidence on organizations website. lies and betrayal.”– Julie McMahon, comment, Tony Jones On Mark Driscoll, What Came First, The Thug or The Theology?

On Ending DudeBro Christianity, #GamerGate, & #NotYourShield

Emergence Christianities and their leadership has unfortunately found itself more often than not on imperialist quests for fame and fortune rather than being in solidarity with the least of these. In the process, as Julie McMahon pointed out, brand-creation and marketing leave the bodies of the marginalized in its wake: objectification, emotional, physical and mental abuse, gaslighting, racist microaggressions, and “post-modern” defenses of White Supremacy. Progressive spaces such as Emergence Christianity have made it okay for others to promote themselves at the expense of others (women mostly). For example, the whole #GamerGate #NotYourShield movement is a whole group of gamer dudes violently backlashing against women gamers who have spoken up versus misogyny. Last week, my friend Drew Hart discovered that a #NotYourShield sock puppet had been using a picture of his to advance the racist*, sexist agenda of #NotYourShield / #GamerGate.

#GamerGate is more than a few Internet trolls. They harass their critics, take down their blogsites, spread vicious rumors, and send emails promising gun violence and sexual assaults towards women who dare speak out. It’s time for progressives to find new ways to brand themselves, and this should start by rejecting DudeBro Politics. It means living by the preferential option for the marginalized (women & People of Color), preferring to choose human life and people over profiteering and brand-making.  Such a rejection also means a public rebuke of #GamerGate / #NotYourShield.    #CloseGamerGate #CloseGamerGate #CloseGamerGate

“[…] upon this rock I will build my church; the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”- Matthew 16:18 KJV

Buffy the Vampire Slayer "The Gift"; gif found on Tumblr

Buffy the Vampire Slayer “The Gift”; gif found on Tumblr

* I refer to #GamerGate/ #NotYourShield as racist because of #1, the persistent blackface sock puppeteering that they do, and #2, their reliance on negative stereotypes of Blacks as thuggish, criminal, and culturally “backwards”/homophobic.